This commemoration was conceived as an occasion to plant seeds for the future of Fukushima children. The children of Fukushima, regardless of whether they were evacuated or not, have suffered a great deal for the past two years. Not to mention the constant exposure to radiation, the break-up of families and friendship, and sometimes discrimination, have caused them emotional stress. Both their parents and advocates have endured tremendous social, economic and political pressures. We wanted to show our support and send them the message that they are always in our prayers.
Our walk kicked off from Times Square, joined by the Peace Walkers of the New England and Grafton Peace Pagodas* with their steady drumbeats and chants. Some honked to cheer us, while others stopped and waved at us. A mother among the participants pushed a stroller for the sake of her two little children's future all the way to the United Nations.
*They have been walking for peace connecting the dots of nuclear power plants in New England.
At a park in front of the UN, we offered our gratitude to life-giving water. Water has been cooling the reactors and used for decontamination. Now it carries radioactive toxins to the ocean. We sang “Furusato” - a Japanese traditional song about the longing for home – remembering the rivers in Fukushima. The water from the ceremony will be sent to the ocean, carrying our prayers to Fukushima. Chiho's healing voice echoed above the typical traffic and construction noise of Manhattan, as she sang a piece from the Requiem by Gabriel Fauré. Reverend Sara of the United Congressional Church offered a prayer and led a moment of silence. The message to Fukushima by Charmaine White Face of the Sioux Tribe in South Dakota was also shared. She lives in a region surrounded by about 3,000 abandoned uranium mines.
Three Fukushima natives shared their own stories. Mie showed us her both grief and hope-filled prayer quilt she has been working on. Mariko talked about the current plight of the children in Fukushima, and Keiko touched on why Fukushima's problems cannot be resolved only from within Japan. We shared a suggested list of things we can do, particularly to help reduce the radiation exposure of children in Fukushima. The event ended with the singing of “We are the World”.
World Network for Saving Children from Radiation